VINTON — Boundary lines for the city of Vinton’s four wards could change before the next election.
Melissa Schwan, Vinton city clerk, provided background for the possible change during last week’s council meeting.
Earlier in the month “Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the redistricting into law,” Schwan explained. “The maps were approved by the Iowa Legislature in late October.
“Each city now has 60 days to evaluate and update precinct and ward boundaries in their own communities. The state of Iowa has provided access to Esri software to make adjustments,” Schwan said.
Requirements call for the city’s population to be evenly divided between each of the four wards.
“In the 2020 census Vinton had a population of 4,948,” Schwan pointed out. Sharing the current population count in the four wards, she explained that the head count was 1,238, 1,231, 1,221 and 1,198.
“Even if the council decides not to make any changes to our wards, a new ordinance would need to be passed,” she said.
Schwan and Chris Ward, Vinton city clerk, demonstrated the software explaining how it worked and moving the current boundaries to provide some other options.
Council members asked what the population division would be if the boundary line along West 8th Street was moved.
“What if we took out that bump?” Bud Maynard, Vinton mayor, asked. The change would make a clearer division between the two wards without making a major change in the population count.
“This is just for discussion this evening,” Schwan explained. “You don’t need to make a decision this evening.”
Before any change could officially be made, the proposed boundaries would need to be reviewed by the Benton County auditor. After that review, there would need to be a public hearing and three readings of the ordinance to be approved.
Looking to the future, “what happens if the population explodes out at the Anderson division?” Maynard asked.
“We would need to ask for a special census to be taken,” Ward said. “That special census would then trigger to have the boundary lines changed.”